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Doctors don’t like to talk about race & parents would like blue-eyed kids.

By Kunal Kalro

, on July 6, 2017

Doctors are human too.

Talking about race makes doctors as uncomfortable as the rest of us.

While medical professionals have generally accepted that race and ethnicity can play a role in disease risk, doctors don’t end up using it in their clinical process with patients because talking about race is really, really, really uncomfortable.

This may not seem like a huge deal, but it means that people from minority groups often get lower quality services because recommendations (from governments, industry and clinical bodies) are often standardized for majority populations.

Takeaway:

When doctors are afraid to ‘personalize’ treatment options so they don’t accidentally offend their patients, it only results in worse outcomes for the same patients.

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Parents are human too.

If parents could design their baby, some of the top traits that they would want are: intelligence, health and… blue eyes.

Takeaway:

The results are what you’d expect when you combine social norms for success and beauty and the natural drive of parents to give their children the best life they can.

Humanity’s tightest knot

Our struggle is real. ????

Lee Cooper wants to use genetic testing and IVF to prevent rare genetic diseases.

Lee suffered from a rare condition called Long QT Syndrome, which could randomly and suddenly put him in cardiac arrest. And while this particular condition may be rare, there are thousands of rare, genetic diseases that affect roughly 8% of Australia’s population.

“As a patient, my greatest emotional challenge has been worrying about passing a deadly gene to unborn children. My child has a 50 percent chance of inheriting LQTS: a coin flip. This is an intense burden to bear, and so I needed to better understand how LQTS would affect the future health of my family.

When my wife and I began our family planning in the wake of my diagnosis, we discovered that in vitro fertilization could allow us to remove LQTS from our family tree. IVF is typically associated with fertility problems. Instead, for us, if we created embryos using IVF, doctors could employ a technique called preimplantation genetic diagnosis to examine embryos and determine whether they test positive for LQTS. IVF is certainly less enjoyable (and more expensive) than the old-fashioned way to pregnancy, but it may be a small price to pay to prevent a sudden cardiac death.

In this case, prevention is a cure.”

Keep reading…

Candy genetics

One of our favorite finds in the past couple of weeks is this totes adorbs presentation of how family tree genetics work, in delicious candy form.

Quick update from us…

Two weeks ago, Kunal Kalro, one of Eugene’s cofounders spoke at ComX’s panel on biohacking, genetics and the future of health. The event’s video highlights are on YouTube, and B&T wrote about it at length here.

That’s it from us for this edition, thanks so much for reading! If you’ve enjoyed this, want to hear more (or less) about certain topics, have a story to share, or just want to good ol’ chat, just tweet or email us!

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